I hadn't heard about the "You must tell us your race and ethnicity" scam by the Anne Arundel County Public Schools until reading the letter in Sunday's Kapital. I asked my wife who confirmed that she sent in one of these forms with each of our kids. "It's required," she said and produced the letter from the schools chief: " In order to comply with...state and federal regulations for recording student race and ethnicity...."
Well it all sounds very official. What state and federal regulations? There are none. The County itself acknowledges this on its web site by providing an excerpt from the Federal Register where "proposed rulemaking" is normally published. Actual changes to the regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations.
My wife was right, as she usually is. The divide-us-by-race rule making offers guidance to schools systems on how to make yourself look more eligible for federal money in the form of "grants and contracts" with the federal Department of Education. This is geared more for contracts because federal procurement regulations make contracting with companies owned by certain ethnic groups faster and easier for an agency. I very much doubt that, as the letter writer states, there is any connection between this race data and the education of our children.
The writer, though, dwells on what the County school apparatus says our options are for complying. All you need to know is that we cannot be forced to disclose our race because the Civil Rights Act and other state and federal law since then make it a federal crime for any public agency to base any service on your race. Period. So if sending in a form that reduces you to a racial statistic so that the County can get more federal money rubs you the wrong way, and it should, then shred the form. If the County wants the money, they'll have to do this work themselves by observing the students. Tell your kids to refuse, politely, to complete the form themselves. The law is on your side.